Among the three main Mies building typologies, Mies’ steel frame and curtain wall approach is the most iconic and can be seen in many office and apartment buildings. The typical floor of Mies steel and glass building is occupied with a central service core, where the elevators, service shaft, corridors, and fire stairs are located. Also, the first floor is usually set back from the building’s perimeter to make the entrance inviting and open.
Our proposal for The Mies Memorial Library continues to explore and reimagines with Mies’ ideology and building typology. To minimize noise from trains and traffic on State Street while maintaining a strong street presence, the Mies Memorial Library is located on 33rd Street, north of the Galvin Library. The curvilinear roof and the setback east facade (entrance) invite students and visitors to enter the library from different directions. Through the curtain wall around the building, passersby will see all of the programs inside the library, welcoming everyone into the space to explore and learn. Upon entry, visitors are greeted by an interior courtyard, Mies’ storage and display, and the circulation desk. The most striking feature is that the Mies’ service core is adapted and transformed into two celebratory spaces: Mies storage and display volume and interior courtyards. The typical Mies solid core is being pulled up to emphasize its importance as it stores and displays his work.
Additionally, from Mies’ early iterations of the IIT Masterplan, we can see that more than several buildings were designed around an interior courtyard. Our proposal reinforces his original idea by creating interior courtyards around the library, particularly the reading space and the auditorium, where patrons enjoy ample daylight and connect to nature. Furthermore, the library has multiple meeting and study rooms and different reading areas to suit students’ needs.